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German Army Beefs Up Armored Battalions with PuBo: A Boxer with Puma Punch

The German Army is undergoing a muscular makeover, and its grenadier units are about to pack a serious punch. In a move that significantly bolsters its armored fighting force, Germany has announced plans to acquire 148 cutting-edge Boxer infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) equipped with turrets derived from the SPz Puma. This hybrid beast, nicknamed “PuBo” (combining Puma and Boxer), signifies a new era in German mechanized infantry.

Tailored for Grenadiers

The chosen platform, the Boxer RCT30, is an 8×8 wheeled powerhouse designed specifically to address the distinct needs of Germany’s grenadier units. These elite troops require a vehicle that offers three key capabilities:

  • Ironclad Protection: The PuBo boasts superior armor shielding grenadiers from anti-personnel mines, heavy machine guns, and artillery shrapnel. Upgradable armor options provide further defense against medium-caliber rounds and bomblets, ensuring maximum troop safety in the heat of battle.
  • Advanced Weaponry: Firepower is not neglected. The PuBo packs a serious wallop with the MK30-2/30mm cannon, capable of engaging targets with pinpoint accuracy at distances exceeding 3,000 meters. This lethality is further amplified by a coaxial machine gun and the integration of Spike LR anti-tank guided missiles, transforming the PuBo into a versatile offensive platform.
  • Squad-Sized Capacity: Unlike the SPz Puma, which prioritizes direct fire support with a smaller troop compartment, the PuBo offers a spacious interior. This critical feature allows for the comfortable transportation of a fully equipped grenadier squad, ensuring they can dismount and engage in combat operations immediately upon arrival at the hot zone. The PuBo effectively functions as both a mobile base and a highly protected fighting machine, perfectly aligning with the operational requirements of grenadier units.

The Power of Partnership

The PuBo leverages the best of both worlds, seamlessly integrating the sophisticated turret system from the SPz Puma onto the robust chassis of the Boxer. This strategic choice offers several advantages:

  • Reduced Risk, Faster Deployment: The proven technology of the Puma turret minimizes development risks and paves the way for a swifter deployment timeline. This is crucial for the German Army as they establish their “Medium Forces” category.
  • Compatibility with IdZ-ES: The PuBo is designed for seamless integration with the “Infantryman of the Future – Enhanced System” (IdZ-ES) soldier equipment. This ensures optimal combat effectiveness by enabling a smooth flow of information and coordinated działania (actions) between grenadiers and their advanced combat gear.
  • Logistical Efficiency: Utilizing an existing turret system simplifies maintenance and logistics, reducing costs and streamlining operations.

Beyond German Borders

The PuBo’s potential extends beyond German borders. Other European nations, particularly the Netherlands, have expressed keen interest in this innovative IFV. The Netherlands, facing criticism from NATO regarding the firepower of their current infantry brigades, sees the PuBo, potentially equipped with a 30mm cannon system, as a solution to meet alliance requirements. Close collaboration between German and Dutch militaries is already underway to determine compatible turret systems and foster greater equipment interchangeability, strengthening overall NATO defense capabilities.

A PuBo Future

The PuBo boasts impressive technical specifications. This 38.5-ton behemoth can reach speeds exceeding 100 km/h on roads and has a cruising range of over 750 km, thanks to its powerful MTU engine. The Boxer platform provides exceptional maneuverability, allowing the PuBo to navigate challenging terrain and handle tight spaces with a turning radius of just 21 meters. Additionally, the modular design facilitates easy adaptation for various missions and simplifies maintenance procedures, keeping the PuBo operational and adaptable on the ever-changing battlefield.

The German parliament is expected to approve the PuBo acquisition later in 2024, with a contract finalized by year-end. This significant investment marks a major leap forward for the German Army, enhancing the capabilities of grenadier units and solidifying Germany’s position as a leader in modern armored vehicle technology. The PuBo, with its potent combination of firepower, protection, and squad capacity, is poised to become a formidable asset for the Bundeswehr, ensuring a well-equipped and powerful force for years to come.